One of the showpieces for President Obama’s green jobs push is going under—and leaving the federal government on the hook for $535 million worth of guaranteed loans in the process. Solyndra, a California-based solar cell manufacturer, told workers yesterday that it would be closing its remaining plant, laying off its 1,100 workers and declaring Chapter 11 bankruptcy, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The company’s cylindrical cells were innovative, but proved unable to compete with cheaper offerings from China.
Solyndra was given government-backed loans as part of the stimulus, and both President Obama and Arnold Schwarzenegger toured its facilities. Now, critics are livid. House Republicans had already questioned the loan guarantees, subpoenaing related documents in July, the Washington Post reports. “In an apparent rush to push stimulus dollars out the door, the Obama administration wasted $535 million,” complained Rep. Cliff Stearns. The Energy Department responded by saying not all startups will succeed, “but we can’t stop investing in game-changing technologies.”